You may have heard of the link between the hormone insulin and weight loss, but unless you’ve spent a lot of time researching exactly how insulin dieting works, it can be pretty confusing initially.
Understanding the insulin and weight loss connection can lead to big leaps forward in the gym, and similarly, misunderstanding it can slow your progress to a crawl. So let’s get into it!
First on the agenda…
What is insulin, and what does it do?
Insulin is created by the pancreas, and it’s vital for many different functions within our bodies. The most relevant of these is the relationship between insulin and glucose.
Glucose is a product created when carbohydrates such as sugar and starch are broken down and absorbed into your blood. You’ve heard of blood sugar levels, right? Blood glucose levels are the same thing.
In short: you eat sugar and starch, and your blood glucose goes up.
Your body, however, needs to work to regulate these levels. If your blood glucose/sugar levels get too high for too long, your body can suffer damage to your organs, nerves and blood vessels.
To stop your blood glucose from getting too high, your pancreas cranks into action producing insulin. Insulin acts as a sort of microscopic Uber driver, ferrying your blood glucose away out of your bloodstream, to be stored in muscle and fat cells for later use.
How does insulin affect weight loss?
Insulin sensitivity and fat loss are closely connected. While insulin is certainly good, it’s possible to develop a condition called insulin resistance.
This is where your body needs to produce higher levels of insulin to get the job done. There are a few theories on why this arises, mostly to do with lifestyle factors such as fitness, diet, and whether you smoke (pro tip: don’t!).
Having a lot of insulin whizzing around your body, however, can impede another important process called lipolysis, whereby your body takes fatty acids stored as body fat to use as energy. This, of course, makes it harder to burn fat.
In addition, high insulin levels also cause a process called lipogenesis, which causes fat to be moved from your bloodstream into fat cells. Boo, hiss.
In summary, then, insulin isn’t bad, and it’s not to be feared. It’s crucial in keeping your body ticking over nicely—you just need to make sure you keep your levels in check.
And here’s how to do just that!
How to lower your insulin for weight loss
1. Eat fewer carbs!
Carbs raise your blood glucose far more than proteins or fats. By consuming fewer carb-heavy foodstuffs, you’ll generate less blood glucose, which means less insulin is needed to process it, which means that your fatty acids won’t be drawn from your cells as a by-product.
A low-carb diet will help you shed fat easily, and won’t see your insulin levels spike.
2. Keep your portions small
Massive portions are a no-no if you want to keep your insulin levels down.
Also Read: Legal Steroid Alternatives That Work Fast
Piling up your plate and wolfing down enormous portions of food is a sure-fire way to increase your insulin resistance over time, causing your body to need to produce more and more—which will impede your weight loss goals.
3. Try apple cider vinegar
Is there anything this miracle fluid won’t help? Just two tablespoons of the stuff has been found to prevent a spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels post-meal.
It also helps you feel full for longer.
According to the scientists who conducted the research, apple cider vinegar may help you feel fuller for longer due to the fact that it delays the emptying of your stomach, which in turn means the sugars you’ve consumed are absorbed more gradually.
4. Ditch the sugar
Okay, so this one’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s important nevertheless.
If you’re trying to lower your insulin for weight loss, you can’t be shovelling down mounds of sugar. Study after study has found that those who consume sugary foods, compared to control groups eating alternative snacks, have way bigger spikes in their blood glucose.
And what happens when our blood glucose is through the roof? You got it: a boatload of insulin floods in.
5. Fast, intermittently
You’ll almost certainly have heard of intermittent fasting by now. It’s all the rage at the moment, and many dieters are achieving excellent weight loss results by only consuming their meals within a narrow window of time each day.
Studies have found that intermittent fasting has caused up to a 57% drop in insulin levels over a three-week period. Not to be sniffed at.
6. Guzzle green tea
Green tea is pretty much a wonder drink.
It’s packed with antioxidants, and is thought to help combat insulin resistance, which is the primary cause of your insulin levels shooting up and making weight loss more difficult.
It can supposedly increase your sensitivity to insulin, meaning your body needs to produce less of it in order to do its job.
7. Get plenty of exercise
Alright, if you’re researching how to lower insulin levels, you’re probably already the kind of person who keeps on top of their fitness. But be sure to stick at it!
A sedentary lifestyle can cause insulin to spike after mealtimes, whereas people who are constantly on the move require far less to be produced. Aerobic exercise is particularly good at this.
8. Eat salmon, and other fatty fish
Salmon is brilliant. It’s a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in many internal processes, including keeping your insulin at a reasonable level.
Other fatty fish you can chow down on include mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and herring. Even just fish oil supplements will do that trick—but let’s be honest, it’s far more fun to enjoy a tasty meal.
9. Consume protein… but not too much
Dodge the dairy protein, as it can actually increase your insulin when consumed in large amounts.
Also Read: Beginner Steroid Cycle Guide
Make sure that the proteins you’re consuming are from lean meats like chicken, or fish with healthy fats such as salmon. Dairy and beef proteins, while delicious, risk spiking your insulin after mealtimes.
Insulin and fat loss: the bottom line
Hopefully, by now you’re totally clued up on insulin and what it does within your body.
Does insulin make you fat? No, but it can impede your weight loss goals if you consume the wrong foods.
Just keep an eye on your diet and your exercise levels and you’ll be fine. Go smash it.